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School of English and Drama

Bill Schwarz, BA (York)


Professor of English



I studied English and History at York University, before moving to graduate work at the Centre for Contemporary Studies at Birmingham. I taught Sociology and Politics at Warwick, Cultural Studies at the University of East London, and Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, before arriving at Queen Mary in 2004. I am an editor of History Workshop Journal and General Editor (with Catherine Hall) of the Duke University Press series, “The Writings of Stuart Hall”.


Research Interests:

  • After Postcolonialism
  • Some New World (Caribbean & North American) black writing in the C20
  • Twentieth-century British cultural and political history
  • Aspects of historiography and cultural studies

Recent and On-Going Research

My research focuses on postcolonial history exploring Britain at the end of empire. I’m writing a three-volume history entitled Memories of Empire; the first volume, The White Man’s World, won the Longman-History Today prize for 2013.



  • with Steven Fielding and Richard Toye, The Churchill Myths (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)
  • with Stuart Hall, Familiar Stranger: A Life Between Two Islands (London: Penguin, and Durham: Duke University Press, 2017)
  • co-editor, with Sally Davison, David Featherstone and Michael Rustin, Selected Political Writings. ‘The Great Moving Right Show’ and Other Essays (London: Lawrence and Wishart, and Durham: Duke University Press, 2017)
  • co-edited, with Rachael Gilmour, End of Empire and the English Novel (Manchester University Press, 2011)
  • co-edited, with Cora Kaplan, James Baldwin. America and Beyond (University of Michigan Press, 2011)
  • Memories of Empire. Volume I. The White Man’s World (Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • co-edited, with Susannah Radstone, Memory. Histories, Theories, Debates (Fordham University Press, 2010)
  • editor, Caribbean Literature After Independence. The Case of Earl Lovelace  (Institute for the Study of the Americas, 2008)
  • editor, The Locations of George Lamming (Warwick University Caribbean series, Macmillan, Oxford, 2007)
  • editor, West Indian Intellectuals in Britain (Studies in Imperialism series, Manchester University Press, 2003)


Recent Publications

  • ‘Wild Power. The Aftershocks of Decolonization and Black Power’ in Daniel Geary, Camilla Schofield and Jenni Sutton (eds), The Global History of White Nationalism. From Apartheid to Donald Trump (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020)
  • ‘Subaltern Histories,’ History Workshop Journal 89 (2020)
  • ‘Boris Johnson’s Conservatism: An Insurrection against Political Reason?’ Soundings 73 (2019)
  • ‘Literature and Terror’ Wasafiri 100 (2019)
  • ‘A Star-Cross’d Nation. If Beale Street Could Talk, 2019’ James Baldwin Review 5 (2019)
  • with Saul Dubow, ‘In Discussion with Neal Ascherson. Reflections on History, Empire and a Life’ (YouTube: 12 March 2019, Cambridge. 130 minutes.)
  • ‘Forgetfulness. England’s Discontinuous Histories’ in Astrid Rasch and Stuart Ward (eds), Embers of Empire in Brexit Britain (London: Bloomsbury, 2019)
  • ‘The Scandal of the Universities’ Soundings 69 (2018)
  • ‘Talking to James Baldwin. Alain Mabanckou’s Jimmy’ Etudes en Littératures Africaines (2017) (forthcoming).
  • ‘Decolonization as Tragedy?’ in John H. Arnold, Matthew J. Hilton and Jan Rüger (eds), History after Hobsbawm (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)
  • ‘The Red Plot’ in Julian Henriques and David Morley (eds), Stuart Hall: Conversations, Projects and Legacies (London: Goldsmiths Press, 2017), pp. 41-7
  • with Sally Davidson, David Featherstone and Michael Rustin, ‘Stuart Hall and Political Writing’ Soundings 65 (2017), pp. 76-88
  • ‘The Silent Majority. How the Private Becomes Political’ in Anna von der Goltz and Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson (eds), Inventing the Silent Majority in Western Europe and the United States: Conservatism in the 1960s and 1970s (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017), pp. 147-171
  • with Sally Davison and David Featherstone, ‘The Political’ in Sally Davison, David Featherstone, Michael Rustin and Bill Schwarz (eds), Stuart Hall, Selected Political Writings. ‘The Great Moving Right Show’ and Other Essays (London: Lawrence and Wishart, and Durham: Duke University Press, 2017), pp. 1-15
  • ‘Haiti and Historical Time,’ in Charles Forsdick and Christian Høgsbjerg (eds), The Black Jacobins Reader (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017), pp. 93 -114
  • ‘Black America and the Overthrow of the European Colonial Order. The Tragic Voice of Richard Wright,’ in Ruth Craggs and Claire Wintle (eds), Cultures of Decolonisation. Transnational Productions and Practices (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), pp. 29-50
  • ‘The Fact of Whiteness. Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing,Journal of Southern African Studies 42:1 (2016), pp. 127-136
  • ‘After Decolonization, After Civil Rights: Chinua Achebe and James Baldwin,’ The James Baldwin Review 1 (2015), pp. 41-66
  • ‘An Unsentimental Education. John Darwin’s Empire,’ Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 43:1 (2015), pp. 125-144
  • ‘Creolization, West One. Sam Selvon in London,’ Anthurium. A Caribbean Studies Journal 11:2 (2014), pp. 1–22


See also my Queen Mary Research Publications profile


Current PhDs

  • David Winks, ‘Travelling through the nation in the age of decolonization’
  • Alex Trask, ‘Middle-brow literature and memories of the First World War’
  • Samantha Bellotta, ‘Sex in the city: Migrant London and the policing of desire in Post Second World War British fiction from Andrew Salkey to Hanif Kureishi’.
  • Steve Bentel, ‘London Identities at the End of Empire’

Completed projects at QMUL are

  • Pria Taneja, 'Epic Legacies: Hindu Cultural Nationalism and Female Sexual Identities in India, 1920-1960' (2009)
  • Kate Houlden, 'Sexuality in the Writing of Male Authors from the Anglophone Caribbean: Roger Mais, John Hearne, Jan Carew, and Andrew Salkey' (2010)
  • Aaron M. Love, 'The Caribbean Novel and the Realization of History in the Era of Decolonization’ (2011)
  • Joanna Harrop, 'The yagé Aesthetic of William Burroughs: The Publication and Development of his Work, 1953-1965' (2011)
  • Rob Waters, 'Imagining Britain through Radical Blackness: Race, America, and the End of Empire' (2014)
  • Emily Hogg, ‘Literature and Human Rights since 1945’ (2015)
  • Helena Goodwyn, ‘The Journalism of W.T. Stead’ (2015)

Public Engagement

In the past I’ve been invited to speak at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, the Schomburg Center for Black Culture, the Pears Institute for Anti-Semitism, the British Academy, the Freud Museum, Bush House, the Museum of Image and Sound (São Paulo), the East End Film Festival, the South Bank, Tate Britain, the Congress of Basque Studies, the Department of Historical Patrimony (São Paulo), the Bishopsgate Institute and the National Film Theatre.

In the past three years I have delivered lectures at the following universities: Vanderbilt, Duke, North Carolina, Stoney Brook, West Indies, Michigan, South Australia, Sydney, Montpelier, Copenhagen, Berkeley and The American University in Paris.

Since arriving at Queen Mary I’ve organized (with Rachael Gilmour and Javed Majeed) an event, ‘Celebrating African Literature’, with Chinua Achebe; ‘An evening for Earl Lovelace’, with Earl Lovelace; a large international conference (with Cora Kaplan) on James Baldwin and with an accompanying day at Bethnal Green’s Rich Mix, with successors in Boston, New York, Montpelier and Paris, and two events for Stuart Hall.

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